Monday, November 30
“God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were.”
Ro 5:20 NLT
VICTORY THROUGH RULE-KEEPING OR VICTORY THROUGH GRACE?
Why did God do away with Old Testament law and institute grace? Because while the law had the power to let people know how far short they fell, it didn’t have the power to make them want to obey it. Let’s suppose you have a tendency to eat too much chocolate. You want to be free from the habit, so you make a law for yourself: “I must not eat chocolate. I cannot eat chocolate. I will never eat chocolate again.” You even convince yourself that for you it’s a sin to eat chocolate. But this self-made law doesn’t set you free from the desire for chocolate; it actually seems to increase your problem! Now all you can think about is chocolate; it’s on your mind day and night. Eventually you find yourself sneaking around to eat chocolate because you told everybody you were never going to eat it again. You can’t eat chocolate in front of people so you hide when you eat it, and end up feeling really guilty because now you’ve become a “sneaky” sinner. Now you understand the pain that comes from being “under the law” instead of free in Christ. New believers often focus their attention on God’s laws in order to control their passions, but it doesn’t work. As they mature, however, they learn to direct their attention to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and discover that He can set you free from the desire to sin. The law requires living by willpower; living by grace requires drawing each day on the power of God’s Spirit.
Tuesday, December 1
“Who am I…that you have brought me this far?”
2Sa 7:18 NIV
ALWAYS BE HUMBLE
A member of Parliament took his little daughter to visit Westminster Abbey. As she stood looking up at its magnificent columns, her father asked, “What do you think, sweetheart?” With childlike candor she replied, “I was thinking how big you look at home, Daddy, and how small you look in here.” God’s presence has a way of humbling us. In the Old Testament, King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?” The Bible’s filled with examples of people who humbled themselves before God. In Matthew’s gospel he mentions his own name only twice, and both times he calls himself a tax collector. And John doesn’t even mention his own name in his gospel. The name “John” that appears throughout his gospel refers to John the Baptist. John simply calls himself “the other disciple,” or “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Luke wrote two of the most important books in the Bible without ever once mentioning his own name. And Paul, the Bible’s most prolific author, referred to himself as “a fool” (2Co 12:11). He described himself as “the least of the apostles” (1Co 15:9), and later claimed to be “less than the least of all saints” (Eph 3:8). In fact, as Paul grew older his ego grew smaller, and in one of his final Epistles he referred to himself as “the chief of sinners” (See 1Ti 1:15). King David wrote no psalm celebrating his victory over Goliath, but he wrote a psalm of penitence confessing his sin with Bathsheba (See Ps 51). So, always be humble!